Picture the pitch meeting: “it’s a one night stand, but it goes on for two nights. We can call it Two Night Stand.” “Sold!” Fortunately for all involved, Max Nichols’ Two Night Stand (see? you already know what it’s about!) has enough charm, spark, and chemistry to overcome a seemingly cookie-cutter premise (which just might be exactly what the rom-com genre needs to get moving again) for a mostly entertaining outing (the kind that spells a big future for Nichols in this sort of stuff, should he be interested).
In a spur of the moment decision, Megan (Analeigh Tipton) signs up for a dating site (by the looks of the opening credits, which feature graphics dedicated to showing Megan filling out the necessary online forms to make her profile, it’s a relatively straightforward one, and Megan has some seriously funny answers for even the most banal of questions), desperate to mix things up and dip a toe back into the dating waters. It soon becomes readily apparent that Megan has been in a state of regression for some time – and, yes, she does yell out, “I’m regressing!,” but that’s not nearly as on the nose as it sounds – and something needs to change for her in a big way. An ill-fated journey outside the house with her roommate Faiza (Jessica Szohr) and Faiza’s boyfriend Cedric (Scott Mescudi) only results in more humiliation, and soon Megan is stuck inside with only her new dating profile to keep her company.
And that’s how she finds Alec (Miles Teller), culling the funny guy from other possible matches by virtue of the fact that he actually responds to her chats with full sentences and plenty of charm. Can she come over? Yes, she can. We never see how the pair’s first night plays out – apparently, the duo were, uh, successful, at least as it applies to Megan’s reason for chatting up Alec in the first place – but we do see the morning after, which lays the groundwork for both the disaster and the charm to come. Turns out, the pair are trapped together by a raging blizzard (and kudos to the film’s production team for really making things look both snowy and stuck, there’s no debating that Megan can’t move an inch, and that veracity helps the film’s high concept go a long way), which would be awkward enough, but is especially weird for Megan and Alec, as their first attempt to end the morning ended on decidedly bad terms.
Stuck inside – together – for an indeterminate amount of time, the pair attempt to navigate all the awkwardness that accompanies a bad one night stand, turned up to around eleven or twelve. Two Night Stand features small supporting turns from a limited pool of talent – Szohr, Mescudi, Michael Showalter doing an awesome and unhinged weatherman – but the film lives and dies by Teller and Tipton’s performances. The pair exhibit a crisp, quick chemistry, and their interactions are funny and zippy – just what a rom-com needs. The duo bicker and banter, get high, engage in some petty crime, and nearly ruin a bathroom. Ah, young love.
Along the way, Tipton and Teller both look believably worse for the wear, and “APOCALYPSE SNOW” continues to rage (also believably) outside. Will the duo overcome their initial differences? Will Megan reveal why she’s recently regressed? Will we ever find out how Alec can afford such a nice apartment? While all those answers might be fairly obvious – really, they’re all “yes” – the point of One Night Stand is to go with the flow and appreciate the journey. Tipton and Teller aren’t bad people to be on such a journey with (in fact, they’re sort of perfect), and audiences hungry for a fresh romantic comedy will find plenty of charms within the feature.
The film succeeds mightily when it sticks to more traditional rom-com trappings – its first act is strong enough to breath life into the steadily dwindling genre all on its own – but later sections zip between unexpected sexual situations, hefty drama, and comedy that verges on the slapstick. (Alec’s reason for joining the site is revealed late in the film, as part of a third act twist that changes the film’s tone and direction.) Still, Teller and Tipton are just great together, loose and funny with killer chemistry, and if either of them want to free themselves up to make a whole slew of similarly skewed rom-coms together (think Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in the salad years), we’re definitely on board. Nichols can come, too.
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